End Of Monarch Butterfly Migration Could Be In Sight

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The number of Monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico this year reached a record low, according to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report released on Wednesday, prompting widespread concern.

The WWF’s, Mexico Environment Department and the Natural Areas Commission concluded that the seasonal migration of Monarchs from North America to Mexico is in existential trouble. Since recording began more than two decades ago, the number of butterflies has fallen from a high of about 45 acres of butterflies in 1995 to just 1.65 acres today.

Entomologist Lincoln Brower said the decreasing numbers is an ominous development.

“Migration this fall is nothing short of a total disaster,” he said.

He said that the prospect of losing the migration is “unthinkable … given the fact that the migration may have been around since the last Ice Age.”

Brower said the suspected cause of the decreasing population is the spread of industrial farming.

“Industrial agriculture is just wiping out the whole food web,” he said. “From the Monarch’s point of view, what is lost is milkweed.”

Monarchs eat exclusively milkweed, which is also where they lay their eggs, he said.

Many industrial farms use crops that are genetically modified to be pesticide resistant. Pesticides are sprayed over large swaths of farmland and kill native plants, like milkweed. The practice is common in the Midwest and Great Lakes region, where Monarchs largely spend the summer.

The butterflies have also struggled on the other side of the border.

“In the early years, there was a lot of deforestation (in Mexico),” he said. “But the Mexican government has pretty much put a stop to that.”

To stem the decline in Monarch migration, Bower suggests working with the federal highway system and compromising with the agriculture community. He said he would like to see milkweed grown along U.S. highways, as well as the preservation from pesticide use of 100 feet alongside all fields.

Bower calls the loss of Monarch migration “the canary in the cornfield” in terms of the environment.

He said while he sees the loss as a “tragedy,” it is “a much bigger picture” and that it “is a symbol that we are messing up our environment.”

Source: WPR ORG
Galen Druke
January 30, 2014

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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